Champagne Cake with Strawberry and Champagne Italian Meringue Buttercream.
This delicate, moist Champagne Cake is packed with flavor, filled with strawberries, & iced with Champagne Italian Meringue Buttercream. It’s the perfect celebration cake.
Last weekend I receive an email with the following request…
“Good morning. I am looking for a recipe that is as good as your Best Vanilla Cake recipe but for a wedding. The bride would like a (NOT PINK) champagne cake. Your vanilla cake is perfection. How could I modify it to be a champagne cake? Thank you! PS – I have tried the Martha Stewart champagne cake, but it was not nearly as good as your vanilla cake. So, searching the internet is not overly helpful. Thank you for any time and attention you may have to give this matter.”
Like an unexpected gift, I suddenly had the perfect excuse to bake Champagne Cake.
I shut myself in the kitchen all Sunday afternoon baking champagne cake after champagne cake until I had achieved a supremely moist, tender cake laced with the delicate flavor of champagne. My family couldn’t stop eating it. Always a good sign.
To frost and fill the cake, I made one and a half recipes of Italian Meringue Buttercream, flavoring the buttercream with a champagne reduction. Then, I removed about 1/3 of the buttercream and added 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries.
I LOVE the flavor combination of strawberry and champagne. However, the strawberry does mute the champagne flavor in the cake a bit. So, if you’re wanting a stronger champagne flavor, I’d suggest sticking with Champagne Buttercream for both the filling and frosting.
Champagne Cake Recipe Notes
I tested this champagne cake recipe with both sweet and dry champagne. Both are delicious, however the sweeter champagne did contribute a bit more champagne flavor to the cake.
I also played around with how much champagne to add to the recipe. One of the things that makes this Vanilla Cake so yummy is the inclusion of buttermilk, which adds both flavor and moisture to the cake. I wanted to include those qualities in this recipe, while also adding enough champagne so you could actually taste it.
I baked two cakes side by side, one with all champagne, and one with half champagne and half buttermilk. Just like with the vanilla cake, the buttermilk made a huge difference in the consistency of the cake, creating a super moist, tender crumb.
The crumb of the all champagne cake was also moist and tender, but not as much. And honestly, there wasn’t much of a difference in flavor between the two versions. So, half buttermilk and half champagne is the way to go.
If you’ve never made Italian Meringue Buttercream, this cake is the perfect excuse.
I receive comments and emails almost every week that go something like this…
“I’m not sure I’ll ever make another frosting type after this! The salted caramel version is delicious, but I am so impressed with the results of the Italian meringue! Fluffy yet stable, with a super creamy texture and amazing flavor.”
This is EXACTLY how I felt the first time I made a batch of Italian Meringue Buttercream almost 20 years ago, and I’ve rarely iced a cake with anything else since. Even those of you (myself included) who typically don’t like frosting, will love this buttercream. It’s the bomb diggity.
Used in this champagne cake recipe:
More cake recipes you might like:
- Strawberry Mojito Cupcakes
- Berry Lemon Snack Cake
- Fresh Strawberry Cake with Pistachio Buttercream
- Peaches and Cream Angel Food Cake
Champagne Cake with Champagne Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 4 whole eggs, separated
- 4 egg whites
- 1½ cups butter, softened
- 2½ cups sugar
- 3 cups cake flour (To make cake flour, replace 2 tbsp of flour with cornstarch per cup. So, for this recipe, add all the flour to a bowl, remove 6 tbsp and then add 6 tbsp of cornstarch. Whisk well to combine.)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup champagne
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 or 1½ batches Italian Meringue Buttercream (if you don't add the pink buttercream swirls on the top of the cake, 1 recipe will suffice)
- 1 cup champagne
- ½ cup fresh strawberries, stems removed, pureed in a blender to measure about ⅓ cup
- Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour three or four 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper that is also slathered with a bit of butter or shortening.
- Separate the 4 whole eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, along with the 4 additional egg whites. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk from the beaten egg whites. Scrape the egg whites into another bowl. Rinse and dry the standing mixer bowl.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.
- Add two of the egg yolks and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining two egg yolks, beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds, and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a bowl and mix with a wire whisk just to combine.
- In a large measuring cup, stir together the champagne, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Beating on low speed, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquid, in 4 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat on low to medium speed, just long enough to incorporate each new addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pans. If baking 3 layers, bake for 30-40 min. If baking four layers, bake for 25-30 minutes. The cakes will be golden brown, be pulling away from the sides of the pan, and will not jiggle in the center when you shake the pan slightly. To check for doneness, stick a toothpick into the center of one of the layers. Remove the toothpick and look for signs of raw batter. If only cake crumbs stick to the toothpick, the cake is done. You can also scoop a tiny amount of cake from the center of one of the layers to check for doneness. (You’ll be covering the cake with frosting anyway.)
- Let the cakes cool on wire racks for 5 minutes in the pan, then gently turn them out of the pans onto the wire racks to cool completely. If you don't plan on frosting the layers immediately, wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. The layers can be stored at room temperature for 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Pour 1 cup champagne into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the champagne is reduced to ½ cup. Allow to cool completely and then slowly beat into a prepared batch of Italian Meringue Buttercream.
- Remove about ⅔ of the buttercream from the mixing bowl. Add the pureed strawberries to the remaining buttercream and beat until completely incorporated.